As you already know, the inaugural gathering of Realm Makers took place this past weekend. The first opportunity of its kind for Christian speculative fiction writers to get together for the purpose of learning, growing, networking, and just having a fabulous time.
And, boy, did we ever!
From Jeff Gerke’s opening keynote speech to the book signing Saturday night, we had enough fun and education to last us into the next year. There’s just something about being with people who think like you, who understand how your brain works, and why you like the things you do. (Doctor Who anyone?)
My favorite workshop was World View and World-Building by LB Graham. I found the theology behind his presentation fascinating, and it really helped me to figure out how to dig deeper in my allegorical fantasy. Awesome! My next favorite was probably Ben Wolf’s stage fighting workshop. While I had taken acting in high school and had seen most of the stuff he was teaching, it was hilarious watching the people who volunteered try it themselves.
The panels scheduled were helpful and informative. I enjoyed listening to the publishers (MLP, Splashdown, and Diminished Media) talk about the future of publishing and how their houses work. I especially enjoyed the insight they offered during the critique session. It’s interesting to hear why they make the decisions they do. I know I will be pursuing publishing toward the end of the year, so their information was invaluable.
The costume awards banquet was definitely one-of-a-kind. It was the highlight of the whole event, in my opinion. From sci-fi to fantasy, from beloved to characters to their own creations–the costumes were awesome. Yes, I got all dolled up in a Renaissance-style gown much like the character in my WIP would wear. Turns out blue dresses from that era were pretty popular. I think Dawn Ford’s steampunk outfit was my favorite though. I sat at a table with 2 other steampunk gals, a Luke Skywalker wanna-be, and an interesting Star Wars author (aka Morgan Busse and her friend Jill, Jeff Gerke, and Kathy Tyres).
Huge congratulations to our own Becky Minor, whose novel won the Parable Award (for best cover art) and to Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Starflower for taking home the Clive Staples award.
But really, the best thing of all was catching up with old friends and making new ones. Each meal, each moment between workshops, each evening back in the dorms was an opportunity to reach out, learn, and connect. It makes the lack of sleep all worthwhile.
Rumor has it, this might be an annual event. Right, Becky?
(The group photo above has all the NAF gals minus Heather, but I added the other picture of her and I. The whole time we were wondering . . . where’s all the NAF men?)